Anna Ellermeier and Matt Crowley/The AS Review
Evangelical environmentalism. It’s alliterative, it rolls off the tongue, but is the combination even possible? According to Dr. Matthew Sleeth, it absolutely is.
A former emergency room doctor, Sleeth “felt like he was straightening deck chairs on the Titanic saving one patient at a time while the whole ship (Earth) was going down,” according to his website. After having this realization, Sleeth left his work as a physician to “teach, preach, and write about faith and the environment throughout the country.”
Sleeth, who lives in Kentucky, will bring his ideas and teaching to Western on Tuesday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m. in Artnzen 100. Admission is free for Western students with ID and $3 for general. There will also be an opportunity for interested students to participate in a facilitated discussion following the lecture. The event is hosted by the AS Environmental Center and the AS club Sacred Earth.
In addition to lecturing, Sleeth has written two books: “Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action,” and “The Gospel According to the Earth: Why the Good Book is a Green Book”, which was released this March. He also wrote the introduction to the “Green Bible.”
In a blog post from March of 2009, Sleeth wrote about Earth Day: “Both Evangelicals and environmentalists act out of a desire to protect those plants and creatures that cannot speak for themselves. Both fight for elements of life over which mankind exercises ‘dominion.’ These include the most mute and vulnerable of all creatures–the generations yet to be born.”
Taylor Smith, the coordinator of Sacred Earth, said that their club chose to bring Sleeth to campus because he was a prominent speaker and because he was a good representation of an opinion that isn’t often talked about.
“A Christian environmentalist is considered an oxymoron by most people,” Smith said. “[But] beliefs in protecting the environment don’t have to conflict with, and in fact can interact with, someone’s spiritual beliefs.”
Smith says he hopes that by coming to the event people will develop a more holistic way of living through combining aspects of their identities. He hopes people will be able to live fuller lives knowing that aspects of their identities aren’t in conflict.
More information about Sleeth and a link to his blog can be found at his website: matthewsleethmd.com.